25 years after the first SMS was sent, the channel is still going strong! Companies and consumers alike are using the channel more than ever, and the future of SMS is bright. We’ve looked at what 2018 has in store for SMS communication and listed the top five changes.
1. A2P will grow
A2P, or ‘Application to Person’ communication will keep growing. Also called enterprise or professional SMS, A2P is when companies send SMS to consumers from an application. LEKAB’s clients use A2P communication to send alerts, to confirm appointments, to send one time passwords, for customer loyalty programs, and more. These messages are usually sent using an API integration, but can also be sent through an online SMS sender (as our web sender).
This type of communication is great for companies, which benefit from sending messages with very high open and read rates. It is also easy to integrate this channel with a CRM system or other database. A2P communication is just as convenient for consumers, who can get messages from companies in a trusted, fast, and easy manner.
2. The use of 2-way SMS will increase
Not only will companies use A2P communication more often, but the use of 2-way SMS will increase. This type of message allows customers to respond to SMS they receive. Using this type of tool, companies can have their customers (or other stakeholders) confirm a meeting time, answer a survey question, confirm the receipt of a message, and more. Companies could even accept customer-initiated contact. This could include help requests and other digital customer communication. For example, parking companies can get SMS from customers that, using an API, allow them to pay for their parking by sending a text.
3. RCS will enhance SMS communication
RCS stands for Rich Communication Services. This is made up of a number of different features that make the SMS more versatile and rich, for example with more rich content and functions within each message, and the ability to see whether or not messages have been read. With the support of Google, this type of message will be a reality in 2018. Sweden (where LEKAB is based) has already adapted the market protocol for this, so we look forward to this change and the enriched messaging possibilities it holds for companies and customers alike.
But there are still some question marks. At this point, we still don’t know what RCS will mean for SMS costs, both for companies and for consumers; we don’t know how operators will handle the delivery of large messages; we don’t know when this will be available for company-to-person communication, as it will start with person-to-person. It is also hard to predict when Apple will develop and launch RCS, and what it will mean for the competitiveness of Androids! One thing is sure, when both Android and Apple can support RCS, almost every phone, in every network in the world will be free of any limitations SMS has today.
4. There will be more SMS firewalls
Operators will vigilantly set up SMS Firewalls to stop the use of illegal grey routes. A firewall is a security system that measures inbound and outbound traffic, and catches anything that goes awry or is not allowed. A grey route is one that is not controlled by what is called ‘interworking agreements,’ that is, established traffic routes between operators. That traffic is essentially stolen, and the cost gets passed on to everyone who is part of the legal mobile chain. Fewer grey routes actually mean more fair prices for everyone who does choose a quality SMS service, because there is less illegal overhead to cover.
5. Faking will increase – so be on the lookout!
Even as operators get better at stopping grey routes, the instances of so-called faking will increase. This is particularly hard to track. SMS marketers beware. With SMS faking, unauthorized senders manipulate the original message data before sending it, altering the center that it looks like traffic is coming from. This lets them pass the cost of traffic on to another company.
What do you as a consumer need to be on the lookout for? Faking is hard to trace, and even when legitimate operators shut it down, illegal suppliers usually don’t report that back to you. This means that unless your recipients already expecting an SMS from you that they never get and complain to you about it, your supplier will keep charging you for messages that they never send (marketers beware).